Otto Dix and New Objectivity
Edited by Nils Büttner, Daniel Spanke. Text by Julia Bulk, Nils Büttner, James van Dyke, Olaf Peters, Birgit Schwarz, Änne Söll, Daniel Spanke, Ilka Voermann, et al.
“The Neue Sachlichkeit: I invented it.” Thus Otto Dix (1891–1969), looking back with characteristic directness, chose to rewrite the development of the art movement that can be considered the “third path”--alongside Abstraction and Expressionism--taken by progressive artists in the modern era. Situated somewhere between the grotesque and the classical, Dix’s harsh, unrelenting realism produced some of the most horrific depictions of the First World War, and some of the most critical portrayals of the Weimar Republic. Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum in Stuttgart, Otto Dix and New Objectivity is the first publication to fully illuminate the Neue Sachlichkeit against the backdrop of the Weimar Republic and National Socialism. The exhibition brings together around 120 works to investigate what characterizes the New Objectivity and how variously the term has been used and interpreted since the 1920s. Some of Dix’s key works--including the “Metropolis” triptych (1928–29), the great psychological portraits and the landscapes with their hidden symbolism painted during the years Dix spent at Lake Constance--form the departure point for this exploration of his oeuvre. They are placed in context alongside the works of George Grosz, Franz Lenk, Werner Peiner, Franz Radziwill, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter and Georg Scholz, creating a new perspective on this crucial chapter in German art history and illuminating these artists’ various reactions to the National Socialist aesthetic and art policy.